ASF afflicts 2,361 barrios—task force

Some 2,361 barangays across the country have been affected by the African swine fever, Task Force on Swine Diseases director Reildrin Morales said.

In a television interview, he said about 442,000 hogs have already been culled to stem the spread of the ASF disease.

“But I’d like to add that several of the places previously affected by ASF have not recorded a fresh case in the past 90 days,” said Morales, who is the executive director of the National Meat Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture.

He said the government has already distributed at least P1.3 billion to help hog raisers recover from the highly disease that has resulted in a decreased supply of pork and an increase in market prices of pork and pork products.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Pangilinan said insurance must be given to hog-raisers as they continue to battle the effects of ASF, which he likened to being the “Covid of pigs.”

He said cash assistance and insurance, which would also necessitate reporting of ASF, would be more useful to ASF-affected hog-raisers.

According to stakeholders in Pangasinan, hog-raisers are asking for stricter animal quarantine inspection, investigation of possible new sources of ASF, an inter-agency task force to focus on the containment of ASF, and insurance protection.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, for her part, called on the DA to focus on scaling up the still limited efforts toward the prevention of ASF, saying the “runaway infection spread” has been the major contributor to the soaring pork price in the country.

She said that the government’s 60-day price ceiling on pork and chicken products in Metro Manila, although set with good intentions, has only exacerbated the plight of hog producers and sellers.

The price cap, she said, is making it almost impossible for vendors to recover from the “twindemic” of COVID-19 and ASF.

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